Friday, 21 September 2018 | News today: 8

SEC will examine Tearce committee, VMRO-DPMNE supporters remain gathered in protest


The State Electoral Commission (SEC) decided to summon again the members of a local electoral commission in a polling station in the village of Tearce, where the final complaint related to the elections was filed by the social-democratic SDSM party.

According to the local commission, the issue is that while tearing up an election ballot, a piece of paper containing the serial number that was supposed to remain with the commission was taken by the voter and was cast together with the ballot. SDSM claims that, in fact, one extra ballot was used, leaving room for chain manipulations during the vote. SEC members who are not nominated by SDSM say that, at the very worst, the ballot with the piece with the serial number attached to it could lead to violating the secrecy of that one vote, but not to more serious manipulations.

SEC decided to call the members of the local commission and have them questioned a second time, and to re-examine the entire voting material and the detailed voting logs. SDSM insists on a repeat of the vote in this polling station. This party lost the elections with 49 projected seats in Parliament to 51 for the conservative VMRO-DPMNE party, and hopes that with the repeated voting, they will be able to take one seat away from VMRO-DPMNE and even the outcome. The SEC rejected 14 complaints submitted by SDSM and a smaller ethnic Albanian party BESA, but approved one BESA complaint in the city of Gostivar, where a woman was turned back because she was marked with ink showing that she had already voted.

As the SEC is in session, hundreds of VMRO-DPMNE supporters remain gathered in protest in front of the building, playing music and chanting against what they see as an attempt to deny the party its victory in the elections. Protesters are carrying banners aimed at American Ambassador Jess Baily, who they blame for interfering in the electoral process and in Macedonian politics overall, during the two years long wiretapping affair. The US Embassy issued a statement denying that the Ambassador has used his influence over the State Electoral Commission to narrow the result between VMRO-DPMNE and SDSM. Protesters are also holding banners in support of incoming US President Donald Trump